Get a glimpse of the amazing mountains that hug Wallowa Lake, the deer that visit the campground, and the town of Joseph, Oregon.
As we continued our camping trip across the north-eastern part of Oregon, we came through the town of Joseph on our way to the Wallowa Lake State Park Campground in the Wallowa Mountain range. Joseph, Oregon is known for the cute the main street and all the bronze statues and artist studios found there.
However, I was more taken with this view:
The town sits at the foot of the Swiss-Alps-like Wallowa Mountains. Do you think after living there awhile, you’d get jaded about this view and not notice them? I hope not – they are stunning.
Our weather was on-and-off rain, blue sky, and clouds. Something for everyone, right? We headed to the campground, parked our vintage trailer in our reserved site (this place is popular, so it’s recommended that you get reservations in advance), and settled in for our first night. It’s a very pleasant campground and even though it’s big, it’s quiet and really nice for families.
The next day, we rented a row boat to explore Wallowa Lake from a different angle. The photo above is looking to the south – and it’s breathtakingly beautiful with the craggy peaks visible in the distance. These mountains are SO incredible, aren’t they? And right here in a part of Oregon most people don’t visit (that’s me saying, “you have to make it here at least once!”).
As we stayed at the state park campground, we soon found out why it’s known for the almost tame herd of deer that wander through. It’s not unusual to see a group of them lazing in the center of camp while children run past them. Seriously, they don’t seem to be bothered by people or noise at all. This guy pictured above was about 20 feet from a group of people talking in front of their RV.
People used to feed them but they’ve made it illegal now (and I really didn’t see people feeding them), though the deer don’t seem know that. Case in point is this incident that we took with our old phone camera:
As we were leaving one day to do some exploring, we stopped the car to look at a deer just standing by the side of the road. And then he just came right up to our windows! He was obviously looking for a handout and was almost drooling on us.
I was actually a bit scared, because I didn’t know if he would bite or become aggressive. I rolled the window up after snapping the photo and we all moved along, ha.
It’s been such a great trip and there are many sights to just gaze at sort of awestruck. There’s even a gondola/tramway you can ride to the top of one of the peaks that gives you amazing views, too.
Between the town of Joseph, the mountains, lake, and many hikes, this was definitely worth the drive from the Willamette Valley. As we’ve traveled through the John Day Valley with it’s mesas, Baker City’s Oregon Trail Museum and Hell’s Canyon, our kids (and us!) have been amazed at all the different terrain we have in Oregon – and now we have even more reason to love our home state.
It’s been such a great trip – I highly encourage you to plan one of your own!